Snowfall draws tourists from all over country to Gulmarg
Tourists from all over India flock to the hill station of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir to enjoy the winter's snowfall.The tourists walked along paths and streets covered in snow, and walked up picturesque pine-clad slopes blanketed by the season's snow.
The tourists were enthralled by the beauty of the spectacle surrounding them, as they stayed in the outdoors collecting memories to take home with them.
"I feel like I have come to paradise. The snowfall is so beautiful that I do not feel like going home. 20 of us have come here to enjoy the weather. We will take the memories of this beautiful place back home with us," said Rajesh, a tourist from western Mumbai city.
Residents of warmer climes, the tourists made merry in the intensely cold weather, throwing snowballs at one another.
"We are playing in the snow, making snowballs and throwing them at each other. This is the first time I am seeing snow. I am enjoying myself," said Sneha, another tourist.
Located in the tropics, most of India sees very hot summers and largely temperate winters. Snow is therefore a rarity, and hill stations in states like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim are very popular with tourists eager to get a taste of an intense winter.
Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a Mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and filmmakers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital.
Tourism returned in force to Kashmir in 2005 as violence fell after India and Pakistan began a peace process. Some 600,000 people visited the scenic region.